Saturday 2nd September 2017
So, 40 mins up the M6 brought us off at Shap and another 15 got us parked up in the quaint village of Askam. Setting off south west on a bridleway saw us up Askam fell, onto Barton fell and eventually up to the top of Loadpot hill and then, after several false dawns, we came to the highest point of the ride the aptly named High Raise at 802m. Photoshoot over, we all agreed we'd have earned our lunch by descending to the remote and scenic lake Hayeswater, sitting majestically below us, at the bottom of a rather inclined section of singletrack, named The Knott.
With the Pinnacle very much on the ragged edge, a few dabs, a couple of hop offs and howling discs saw me down, alongside Justin, who'd taken a partially different line down, both of us trying to find the easyest route to the bottom.
Upon Sue and Keith's arrival a few minutes later we tucked into our lunch me enviously eyeing the whopping brace of chicken, ham and leek Higgedy pies unveiled by Mr and Mrs Baddass.
With ham bun sitting heavy we resumed down to Hartsop, the couple of km smooth gravel track a welcome break from what we'd had so far. From Hartsop we hugged the hillside, the bridleway turning into footpath (we walked honest) then back to bridleway joining the lakeside trail at Side Farm campsite. Some of us 'non lizard' forms took on well needed fluids here then continued lakeside around the foot of Place Fell. It was at this point that things began to get a little tiresome, ten metres on bike, ten metres off scenario, up, down and around we went hoping for a bit of trail consistency. It was not to be. The whole 5km was tough and mostly unridable, hoovering up our afternoon time slot.
Eventually we came across Sue's predicted oasis ( a well hidden small but well stocked cafe) like a mirage it appeared and quickly wiped away the toil filled memories of the previous section. Reflecting on the possibilities of how much more of the planned route to bite off, we decided, given the time and predicted parcour, to cut out the loop over Martindale common and take the easier return (sorry for using the 'e' word Justin ) along the road over Hallin fell. It was here, enjoying the switchback descent a little too much that I warped my rear disc rendering the going a little restricted. Managing, with a bit of a bash, to get it 'something like' we continued along more lakeside as far as Elderbeck. Here we took the road past the camp site up to Roehead. From there the road turned back to bridleway and linked up with the previously trodden route finishing with a nice flowing descent back to Askam.
Great company, fantastic views, and a bit of adventure without the scurvy.